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Wheelchair tennis loses UK Sport funding despite Rio 2016 success

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UK Sport has decided against funding wheelchair tennis’ world-class programme ahead of the 2020 Olympic Games, despite the Rio 2016 team bringing home six medals last summer.

The elite sport quango has decided that wheelchair tennis now has access to “sufficient non-grant income” to fully fund its programme.

“Therefore UK Sport will not fund the core wheelchair tennis world-class programme for the Tokyo cycle,” the organisation said in a statement.

For the Rio 2016 Olympic cycle, the wheelchair tennis world-class programme received a grant of £1.9m (US$2.4m, €2.2m).

The Tennis Foundation – which oversees the sport – said that UK Sport’s decision was “disappointing”, particularly considering the success had by the team at the Rio 2016 Olympics last summer.

ParalympicsGB wheelchair tennis team won six medals, with Gordon Reid winning gold – significantly more than the maximum of three target set by UK Sport prior to the Games.

“The decision by UK Sport to remove our core programme funding that we use to provide central support to the country’s best wheelchair tennis players clearly puts at risk our ability to continue the progress that was made in Rio, where our athletes won six medals (more than any other nation – success that has helped to inspire a record number of people to pick up a racket and play wheelchair tennis across our network of venues,” said a Tennis Foundation statement.

“We will now take time to consider our position and the options available to us.”

However, to “manage the transition” UK Sport will continue to funds its world-class programme until July 2017, a commitment the Tennis Foundation said it was “pleased” about.

“UK Sport would like to thank the Tennis Foundation for their patience and professionalism throughout this process. We have every faith in the sport’s ability to deliver multi-medal success in Tokyo and will continue to offer them our technical support and expertise,” said UK Sport.

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UK Sport has decided against funding wheelchair tennis’ world-class programme ahead of the 2020 Olympic Games, despite the Rio 2016 team bringing home six medals last summer.
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Gordon Reid won gold during the Rio 2016 Olympics / Adam Davy/PA Archive/PA Images